If you’re wondering “What’s a skein? I thought yarn came in balls?” or “How do I crochet from this twisted thing (skein)?” you’re in good company because this is something that all crocheters have asked at some point.
In the video below I explain the difference between a skein and a ball of yarn.
What’s a skein?
When it’s pulled apart a skein is yarn that’s in a big circle with some ties around it to hold it in place. This is folded in half and twisted to make it easy to store.
Why does yarn come in skeins?
Skeins of yarn are easier to store and transport than balls. For yarn that has multiple colours in it, it’s easier to open up a skein and see all the colours and how they’re arranged. Winding yarn into ball also puts tension on the yarn.
Can I crochet from a skein?
You could, but you would definitely end up with a mess of yarn. Before crocheting a skein needs to be wound into a ball, either by hand or with a swift and ball winder.
How do I wind a skein into a ball?
There’s 2 parts to doing this – one is to hold the skein open and the other is to do the winding.
A yarn swift is a piece of equipment that’s designed specifically to hold open a skein of yarn, but you can also do this by getting someone to hold it between their hands, put it over the back of a chair or anything else you can find that will hold the skein open and stop the yarn from becoming twisted. For chunky yarn you don’t need anything to hold the skein open, all you need to do is lie it open on a table or on your lap.
As the name suggests, a ball winder will wind yarn into a ball (or cake) so it’s easy to crochet from. You can also wind the yarn into a ball by hand.
In the videos below I show you how to wind a ball of chunky yarn by hand (you don’t need a swift), and how to wind a ball of standard sized yarn with a ball winder and swift, or by hand.
How to wind a ball of chunky yarn by hand
How to wind a ball of standard sized yarn by hand
How to wind a ball of standard sized yarn using a swift and ball winder
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With love, Lynda.